Editor Interview: The Magnolia Review
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: exciting work, memorable
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: I'm a fan of the publications I learned the literary magazine world, Prairie Margins and Mid-American Review at Bowling Green State University. I also enjoy AGNI, McSweeney's, The Kenyon Review, Minerva Rising, and so many more. I enjoy finding new publications to read.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: I dislike this question because I have so many favorites, but to name a few writers: Flannery O'Connor, Robert Frost, Kay Ryan, Robert Stone, Rainer Maria Rilke, Halldor Laxness, Leigh Bardugo. Artists: Cezanne, Rodin, Picasso, Henry Moore, James Havens, Marjane Satrapi, Lynda Barry, David B., Adrian Tomine, and R. Crumb.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: The Magnolia Review publishes work that is memorable and the reader comes back to, similar to the flowering of the magnolia tree every spring. It is a treasure to be shared and experienced with several readings.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Please read the guidelines. We are earnest about reading anonymous submissions, so please remove identifying information. Previous issues are available online to get an idea of the work we accept. We are interested in experimental work and work that pushes boundaries of each area.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: No identifying information, exciting work that we can't wait to publish.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: Leaving identifying information on the submission. We want to keep the process anonymous and let the work shine for itself.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: A simple cover letter will do. We prefer a third person bio to use if we accept the work. Previous publication credits can be included in the bio, but it is up to the submitter to include it.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: We read most pieces to the end, but can tell in the first few paragraphs/pages if the piece isn't for us.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: There are no additional evaluations.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: Editing is usually squeezed in-between school and a full-time job. I sit with my laptop and open the emails and go through the submissions. I log them in my Excel tracker for the submission number and author/artist's name. Once the submission has a number, I open it (and remove identifying information if the submitter didn't remove the information.) Then I read. I record in my Excel file if the work is accepted or rejected. I email the writer/artist with an acceptance letter/contract of publication or a rejection letter. I am trying to speed up my process and read them as they come in, instead of in bundles of 20 or so that I've done in the past.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: I think it's important for publishers to be aware of the options out there, even if the publishers choose not to use all of them. Personally I love electronic submissions as an editor and a writer/artist myself, for the cost factor and efficiency. Facebook and Twitter are tools I use to connect with contributors and to reach out to new writers and artists. As a book artist, I would love to see more handmade books in the world. Even though TMR is electronic right now, I am working on ways to have a print version. Through this exploration, TMR may find a way for technology and publishing traditions to coexist.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: I do very little editing on the accepted pieces. I do basic proofreading and copy editing, and if I want a major edit, I'll ask for the author's approval. I will publish the work anyway, but I do encourage the author to consider the changes.
Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?
A: I nominate work for The Pushcart Prize. I also have The Magnolia Review Ink Award, starting with volume 3.